Tribe rushes to beat use-or-lose deadline on COVID-19 relief funds
September 23, 2020
WASHINGTON – Spending $177 million may not seem like a problem, but it is a challenge for Navajo Nation leaders who could lose those funds if they don’t find projects that can be completed by the end of this year.
That funding is the last part of $714 million the Navajo got as their share of the $8 billion budgeted for tribes in the Coronavirus Assistance, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, that Congress passed earlier this year.
The Navajo Council will debate several proposals Thursday on how to spend the remaining funds – but all with an eye on the calendar. That’s a challenge, said one official, because many items the tribe has identified as “immediate” needs are infrastructure-heavy, like water and broadband projects.